Civil War days return to the Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic Site on Saturday when the Turner Brigade has its annual spring drill where reenactors perform a living history event for the public.
Sponsored by Missouri State Parks, the event takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is made possible by the Friends of Fort Davidson and the Turner Brigade.
Made up of infantry, artillery, civilian, and sometimes cavalry units, the brigade is the largest Union reenacting group in eastern Missouri. It’s grown to more than 150 adult members in recent years.
“We portray infantry, artillery, cavalry and engineer units of Missouri Union volunteers and civilians of the Civil War period,” said Christopher Warren, local brigade member. “We are a family-oriented group, with members from all around the St. Louis metropolitan area and beyond. In fact, we even have some members who live as far away as the state of California.
“Our group is affiliated with and active in the Missouri Civil War Reenactors Association, the regional reenactors’ group. For national events, all of our military units are affiliated with the Frontier Brigade, 1st Federal Division. Our multiple units permit our members to learn and experience several period military disciplines.”
They participate in battle reenactments and living history events throughout Missouri and in adjoining states. They also participate in other kinds of events, such as memorial services, parades, Boy Scout camporees, and band concerts performing the 1812 Overture.
According to Warren, the re-enactors will be in Civil War costume and portray life in military and refugee camps at the time.
“This is definitely a family-friendly activity that will be coupled with displays in the museum,” he said. “It will provide an excellent learning experience for children.”
At the all-day event the brigade will take part in muster and spring drill, offering spectators an accurate portrayal of life in military and refugee camps during the early to mid-1860s. Small arms and artillery drill will take place throughout the day. Spring was traditionally the time during the war when units would reorganize after a long winter, readying themselves for the summer and fall battle campaign season.
Military and civilian units of the Turner Brigade are joined together in the Association of the Turner Brigade. The association’s purpose is to provide a way for its members to offer a true and informed portrayal of soldiers and civilians during the Civil War, to enhance their reenacting experience by coordinating activities of affiliated units, and to present a unique educational experience of the Civil War period that only living historians can create.
In addition to the Turner Brigade reenactment, volunteers will also be at the park performing maintenance chores at the historic site. Activities are chiefly outdoor jobs like raking leaves and collecting trash. Volunteers will receive T-shirts and some sites will provide lunch or refreshments. For more information contact Brick Autry at email@example.com.
Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or firstname.lastname@example.org